BYU reclaims the Old Wagon Wheel with 42-14 blowout over Utah State

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Cougars rack up 639 total yards and force five turnovers

LOGAN, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – The Old Wagon Wheel is rolling back to Provo.

 Jaren Hall was 12-of-16 passing for 214 yards and ran for two touchdowns — all before halftime — and Baylor Romney threw for 191 yards and two scores to help BYU beat Utah State 42-14 on Saturday night to win the Old Wagon Wheel trophy for the first time since 2016.

The 28-point margin is BYU’s largest over Utah State since a 34-0 win in 2006.

“It’s huge for us,” said linebacker Isaiah Kaufusi, who had a fumble recovery. “I think it’s a big momentum booster. Coming off the wins of Boise and Utah State, guys are confident. A lot of guys have stepped up and are playing really well.”

Hall, who finished with seven carries for 54 yards, suffered a concussion in the first half and was replaced by Romney to start the third quarter. Hall, a redshirt freshman, also left BYU’s Oct. 12 game against South Florida — his only other career start — with concussion-like symptoms.

Utah State (4-4) went three-and-out on the game’s opening possession before the Cougars ripped off an 11-play, 93-yard drive capped by Aleva Hifo’s 6-yard touchdown run. Jordan Love’s 26-yard TD pass to Siaosi Mariner tied it late in the first quarter.

But Hall scored on runs of 16 and 7 yards in the second quarter to give BYU a 21-7 lead, before Gerold Bright’s 1-yard touchdown run with 34 seconds left in the half made it 21-14.

Romney led a seven-play, 75-yard drive to open the third quarter culminating with his 11-yard TD pass to Micah Simon and, after the Aggies went three-and-out, Romney’s 1-yard scoring pass to Gunner Romney made it 35-14 going into the fourth. It was the first brother-to-brother touchdown in BYU (4-4) history.

“They told me all week just to be ready to go in,” said Romney, who started for the Cougars in their win over Boise State two weeks ago. “I was prepared when I was told right before the half. Coach Grimes came up to me and asked me if I was ready, and I told him I was ready.”

“Last week we had the first brother-to-brother interceptions,” said head coach Kalani Sitake referencing Isaiah and Jackson Kaufusi’s picks against Boise. “We’ll just keep recruiting more brothers and see what happens.”

BYU racked up 639 yards of total offense, the most since the Cougars gained 741 yards against Wagner in 2015. 

“We left some points on the field, and we could have caused some more havoc on defense, but for the most part, all three phases I was happy with,” said Sitake. “We played a little bit of a different, unique-base defense tonight, I think we caught the offense off guard. I like that we made them earn it. Points are all I care about, so we’ll take all those yards if they only get 14 points.”

Lopini Katoa had 129 yards receiving to go along with 42 yards rushing and a touchdown to lead the offensive attack.

“It feels good,” said Katoa. “Those are our true colors. We know we can do that week in and week out, so the fact that we put it together today was huge for us.”

Utah State played without leading tackler David Woodward, who was out with an injury.

Love was 29-of-49 passing for 394 yards and a TD but threw three interceptions. The BYU defense forced five turnovers in total.

“BYU out-played us,” said Utah State head coach Gary Andersen. “They deserved to win, and they did. So congratulations to them. Other than that, you can ask all the questions you want, but we got out-played. We’re going to come back fighting. We’re going to learn from it, away we go.”

“Obviously, we didn’t get the outcome we wanted today against our biggest rival,” said Aggies wide receiver Jordan Nathan. “Games like this help create a stepping stone for our offense and our team. We’ll just build off of what happened tonight.”

Utah State returns to Mountain West Conference play next week at Fresno State, while BYU hosts Liberty.

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